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Mysterious Delphi
Uncovering hidden Delphi features. See how to set up some secret registry settings that change the standard behavior of the Delphi IDE.
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"...the question I have for any of you who used Delphi prior to version 5, what purpose is there for me, someone who does mostly database programing, of using version 5 or should I stick to Delphi 1/2/3/4..."
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• Undocumented Delphi Registry Entries
 

Working with Delphi is a whole lot more fun if we bend some of the "rules". Like many other complex tools (applications) Delphi has some undocumented settings that can really help us code faster and with more fun. Let's find out where is the secret backdoor for getting Delphi to expose it's secrets.

Messing with the Registry
All secret settings are stored under the Delphi main key which is: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Borland\Delphi\5.0 in the Windows Registry database. I'll call this key MDK for short.

To modify Delphi registry entries, start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe). NT users should run regedit32.exe. Since we'll be modifying and adding registry entries (keys and values), firstly create a copy of your registry - in case that something goes wrong. To add a new key under the Delphi main root select Edit|New|Key. The new key appears with a temporary name - type a name for the new key, and then press Enter to confirm it. To add a new value under the Delphi main root (or your newly added key) select Edit|New|String (or Binary or Dword) value. The new value appears with a temporary name and default value - type a name for the new value; double-click the value to change it with the Value Data box. Most values are stored as strings, and boolean values are represented as '1' (True) and '0' (False). In order to use secret features you'll need to restart Delphi. Any time: to disable boolean values set them to 0 and restart Delphi.

Note: none of the secrets exposed in this article are guaranteed to remain in future versions of Delphi. In other words: there are no guarantees with undocumented settings - use those at your own risk. If safety is a concern for you, you should stick to the documented Delphi settings.

FontNamePropertyDisplayFontNames
Adding "FontNamePropertyDisplayFontNames" string with value "1" to MDK\Extras will cause the IDE to display a graphical drop down list of fonts.

AutoPaletteSelect
Adding "AutoPaletteSelect" string with value "1" to MDK\Extras will cause a tab on the component palette to be automatically selected when the mouse is hovering over it.

AutoPaletteScroll
Adding "AutoPaletteScroll" string with value "1" to MDK\Extras will cause a list of components on the tab on the component palette to scroll when the mouse is over either the left or right palette scroller. This will happen when icons don't fit in a component page.

Editor.DefaultHeight and .DefaultWidth
Adding "DefaultHeight" string with value "400" and "DefaultWidth" string with value "600" to MDK\Editor will set default editor width and height, when Delphi starts a new project.

ShowCodeInsiteError
Adding "ShowCodeInsiteError" string with value "1" to MDK\Extras will cause Code Insight Errors to be shown in the Message view window.

Get the Good Stuff
Naturally, this is far from a complete list of Delphi secrets. There are certainly some Delphi secrets that are yet to be discovered: would you be the lucky one? If you know of some other secret setting please share it on the Delphi Programming Forum.


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